As part of our on-going efforts to make improvements to the course we have decided to implement Environmental Zones throughout the course this season. These zones, also referred to as “waste areas” or “no-mow/spray”, will be placed primarily in out-of-play areas of the course and along boundaries. The purpose of these areas is multi-faceted, with the primary focus being on creating a natural eco-system that promotes increased wildlife habitats and decreases potential additives to the environment by reducing unnecessary chemical applications (fungicides and pesticides). These designated zones will be allowed to grow naturally throughout the season and as they mature will include a variety of bird and butterfly houses, along with signage designating these areas as environmental zones.
In all approximately 5 acres of turf is being converted into these environmental zones, including 18 separate areas (10 on the front 9, 8 on the back 9). These include areas along the outside of dog-legs, between greens and tees (with a designated path mowed for travel), areas adjacent to tee boxes, and along some of the property lines. By reducing the amount of area needed to be maintained it allows us to save on labor costs, equipment usage, fuel consumption (and emissions into the ozone), and direct use of fungicides and pesticides. By reducing chemical additives to the turf there is a decreased chance of potential contamination into the surface and groundwater supplies. These reductions not only save on operating costs but promote a healthier environment for everyone.
Another benefit of incorporating these areas into the course is the ability to attract more wildlife. The addition of a variety of birds, which feed on insects, will help decrease insect populations of mosquitoes, house flies, bees, and spiders- without having to spray chemical solutions into the eco-system.
These changes will allow us to re-allocate our resources to other aspects of course maintenance and additions to improve the over-all quality of not only the course, but the environment around us.